The Apology You Will Never Get From A Toxic Partner

24 Jul 2018

Who doesn’t need an apology when they feel they have been wronged?  Not me, certainly.  I am a stickler for an apology.  I guess you are, too.  Especially if a person has grown up in a family where they experienced a lot of unfairness, they are likely to struggle with unfair treatment.

What unfairness tells you

The bottom line, of course, is that unfairness tells you that you simply don’t matter that much.  In the great scheme of things, the person dealing out the unfairness doesn’t consider either you or your feelings  that important.

As a child you may have been made to apology over and over again for

  1. a) Things that you didn’t do in the first place or else
  2. b) Things that were not wrong – objectively speaking. (But they did irritate the hell out of a more powerful family member.)

That kind of experience is really tough for a child.  It teaches you that you are at the bottom of the emotional hierarchy.

Nobody says to you, “Look, I’m reacting like this because I have emotional issues and anger issues and I’m scapegoating you because I am incapable of running my life like a functional adult.”

Instead they just say, “You did something terrible. You have no right of redress. Oh, and you had better get apologizing now.  Not that your apology will be the end of the matter.  It won’t.  It will make me feel a little better but don’t expect it to do anything good for you.”

If someone had said that to you as a child, it would not have made everything alright. Actually, it would not have made anything right.  However, it would have been slightly better than nothing.  At least you would have understood what was happening a little better.

When you don’t get the apology you need

Instead, the unfairness and lack of apology are wounds you carry inside you through childhood and adolescence.  You vow to yourself that, as an adult, you will do things differently.   You will find a partner who will love you better than your family did.  And you and your loved one you will show each other the mutual respect that you have always longed for but never had.

Except that, along the way, you meet a toxic partner.  Not everyone does. But an awful lot of people from a toxic, abusive background do end up with someone who bears an uncanny resemblance to their unfair family member(s).

The dear friend who is currently struggling through a toxic marriage breakdown married a man who looked very different on paper to her father.  However, his treatment of her mirrored her father’s treatment of her and her mother. That makes the whole thing even more painful.

Despite our best efforts, most of us find ourselves  catapulted back into the psycho-drama we had with either a parent or sibling.

The intention is always to find that relationship of equality and mutual respect in which everything that you give to your partner will be given back to you.

So, why does the reality pan out so differently?

Jerks and toxic people instinctively know that wounded, sensitive empaths represent a damned good bet for them – because we wounded, sensitive souls will go the extra mile to make a relationship work.

Then, when that doesn’t work, we empaths will gird our loins for the long, LONG march…

In reality, what we ask, in return for what we give is horribly humble.  An apology for all the accusations, rejections and  nastiness would go down a treat.

Of course, a sincere apology that is actually worth something, will never be forthcoming from a toxic partner.  That sincere apology would require the toxic partner to own up to their own dark heart.  If your relationship with a toxic partner has taught you anything, it could have taught you this:

You don’t keep a scapegoat and take the blame yourself.

Abusers know your hooks

Besides, they know just what a powerful hook your need for fairness and apology is.

As ever this brings the whole question of apology back to you. There are a few things you will need to accept.

The relationship in which you find yourself really is toxic, unfair, and nightmarish.  However, none of what has happened to you with a toxic partner is your fault.   Plus, you will have to accept that the apology you want and deserve will never come your way.

The time has come to lay the fantasy of The Heartless Brute Who Finally Sees The Light Won Over By The Love Of A Good and Unselfish Woman so beloved of Hollywood.  Heads really should roll for that one. (Although it is not hard to see why the toxic abusers of Hollywood might promote that myth.)

The apology you will never receive

So, let’s turn our attention now to the knotty problem of the apology that you will never receive. You need that apology because you are still waiting for the person who consistently undermined your worth to say to you,

“Look, I got it totally wrong.  You really are a good, worthy, lovable human being and I’ve been a nasty, cruel, heartless pig.”

That apology would approve to you that you really were on the right track in thinking that you are a worthwhile human being.

The big problem lies in needing the official confirmation of a toxic partner before you can truly believe in your own value for yourself. You see, inside yourself you are saying, “Yes, I kind of know that that person is a horrible, toxic. nasty person.  However, they have the right to judge me. I am condemned to be who they say I am.”


The double bind

Do you see what a double bind that leaves you in?

Until they see you as a good human being, you cannot own your own worth. But they are never going to see you as a worthy human being because there is nothing in it for them.

As the toxic partner sees it, you need to remain, permanently further down the food chain than they are.  Your place in their life is to confirm their superiority.

So, you can kiss goodbye to all hope of a meaningful apology from a toxic person. Abusers and Narcissists are a dead-end street.  You can never get anywhere that you want to go with them.

Don’t let yourself be distracted by their opinion of you any longer. You are not on their journey.  (Nor need they be on yours anymore.)  The next lesson on your curriculum is all about learning to feel good about yourself –despite what a toxic partner has said – and made no apology for. You need to learn to treat yourself as you would have others treat you. If you can’t seem to do that alone, then get in touch.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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